Isuzu’s oldest SUV gains a new engine for 2004 while losing its 2-dr model and 4-cyl engine.
This 4-dr SUV has a side-hinged tailgate with flip-up glass. Rodeo is offered as a single S model. The 2-dr Rodeo Sport is discontinued. Two V6 engines are available: the standard 3.2 liter with 205 hp and a newly optional 250-hp 3.5. The 4-cyl engine is dropped. The 3.2 is available with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission; 3.5 models come only with automatic. Rodeos offer 2WD or 4WD that must be disengaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. ABS is standard, side airbags are unavailable. All Rodeos use 16-inch wheels. A tire-pressure monitor was added as standard equipment during the model year.
Though fairly sporty, the Rodeo’s more-than-decade-old design leaves it way behind today’s competition in most respects, especially in ride and 4WD convenience.
Rodeo Sport is already gone, and the Rodeo itself ends production this summer. So does its high-style offshoot, the Axiom. Though SUV demand is strong as ever, Isuzu still struggles to survive as a vehicle maker in the face of continuing meager U.S. sales. The end of Rodeo and Axiom leaves dealers with only the GM-sourced Ascender to sell until model-year 2007. At that point, sources expect a midsize body-on-frame SUV based on a pickup built in low-wage Thailand–assuming Isuzu is not forced to abandon retail sales before then.